28 January 2009


I found this on the internet...

Lawrence Livermore Laboratories has discovered the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element, Governmentium ( symbol=Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons , 88 deputy neutrons , and 198 assistant deputy neutrons , giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons , which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons . Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact.

A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take from 4 days to 4 years to complete. Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2 to 6 years . It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places .

In fact, Governmentium' s mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons , forming isodopes . This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration.

This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass . When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium ( symbol=Ad), an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium, since it has half as many peons, but twice as many morons .

25 January 2009

About the missional thinking/reading/learning family tree

It's interesting being part of an undefined (or at least ill-defined, or maybe "being defined"), leaderless, non-funded, non-head-quartered  movement.  (I could go on and on about the constant reshaping and realigning that goes on, but I won't... maybe.)

But it is a movement toward participation with God Himself in His mission.  It's a new thinking and realignment in practice or the missio Dei in everyday flesh and blood situations.  It's about moving back in the neighborhood and marketplace.  As well as into all the world.  It's about unashamed engagement with others out of love and respect - for where they're coming from as well as where we're going.  It's about finding the heart of God in His mission and responding - not just with good theology (orthodoxy) that basically means shaking our head in agreement, but with actionstree-diagram (orthopraxy) of love, sacrifice, kindness and hope so that the Kingdom actually comes and the Father's will is actually done.

It is an international sporadic, helter-skelter, here-there movement of imperfect men and women, young and old, well-churched as well as newbies who want to see things happen differently.  It is a movement about hope and change that is bigger than President Obama and the new administration.  Bigger and better.  More lasting and hopefully more about consistent, lasting justice and living hope than about religious observance and church attendance.

My hope is that the history and reputation of the church will not bog down the movement.  That it - the word, the movement, the heart - will not be co-opted by well-meaning preservationists. 

It's about God's heart!

And according to Leadership Journal we have Darrell Guder for putting the heart of God on the church's map. 

And maybe the Holy Spirit.

24 January 2009

Don't lose the plot

Two things are on my mind and my plate this morning...

One is a reply I made to a pastor friend regarding the "new low literacy of the Bible" among Americans and the other (which is actually the same thing... (smile)) is rereading The Open Secret.

Years ago (probably around 2001), my friend and neighbor Jim Tebbe was moving back to the US.  So in cleaning out his books, he gave me a copy of Lesslie Newbigin's The Open Secret.  It was originally published in 1978.

I had read his Foolishness to the Greeks prior to going overseas and found it intriguing, but somehow had missed The Open Secret.  But I read it with relish and came away amazed that Newbigin had such prophetic insight!

Well I picked it up again this morning and I want to share a couple of quotes (keep in mind he wrote this in 1978):

"...We are forced to do something that the Western churches have never had to do since the days of their own birth -- to discover the form and substance of a missionary church that are valid in a world that has rejected the power and influence of the Western nations.  Missions will no longer work along the stream of expanding Western power.  They have to learn how to go against the stream.  And in this situation we shall find that the New Testament speaks to us much more directly thank does the nineteenth century as we learn afresh what it means to bear witness to the gospel from a position not of strength but of weakness..."  (p.5)

"...All thinking about the world mission of the church today must thankfully and joyfully take account of the fact that the 'home base' of missions is now nothing less than the worldwide community, and every proposed expression of the church's missionary outreach must be tested by asking whether it can be accepted by the whole ecumenical family as an authentic expression of the gospel."  (p. 7)

In essence, he's saying what we need to hear: it's about God's church on mission reflected both in form and substance and we cannot rely on "home field advantage" -- people thinking and assuming like us...

After returning to the US after so many years abroad, it seems to me that the Church has lost the “home field advantage” (HFA).  The HFA we as the church enjoyed in the USA (and especially in the South) is just over.  And instead of being angry and nostalgic about the “good old days,” we need to learn to play on any field.

Christianity has been the de facto “favored religion” and something of biblical knowledge was a part of the American culture.  Historically witnesses in court and Presidents were sworn in on a Bible, etc. so there was a sense of biblical authority.  And many people had a sense of the Bible stories.  “Walking on water,” David and Goliath, antichrist – all became part of Western/American vocabulary.

But the sense of biblical literacy that has existed in previous generations is just gone – as evidenced by the Google search.

Not long ago, I wrote this…

So, we have to drop back and regroup:

  • Lose the language… We have to get rid of the default Christian-ese language and shorthand that we always used.  In the past even unchurched people understood what it meant when we preached and used Christian shorthand.  If you said “get saved” the unchurched knew what you meant.  Not now.  So we have to find new ways of communicating.
  • Find the mystery… We have to emphasize the mystery of the Trinity and the reality of God’s presence in the world today…  it’s okay not to be able to explain everything in a linear 2+2 formula.
  • Keep the plot… We have to major on the important things in Scripture while being very tolerant of those who disagree.
  • Focus on Jesus – the real Jesus… We have to talk about Jesus – who he is, what he did, why it was important.  For many in our world Jesus Christ is a curse word.  Really.  So we need to again explain who he is, over and over again.
  • Define which God… Everybody believes in god – we have to continually reemphasize the characteristics of the true God.  We can’t just reference “god” we have to be specific.
  • Tell the story; tell it well and tell it often...  We need to tell The Story as well as other stories that engage the imagination, not just as illustrations.
  • Make following Jesus spiritual, not religious… There is a genuine desire for spirituality and community among the biblically illiterate.  But they pick up on negativity and intolerance.

14 January 2009

On mission with God...

This morning, I'm sort of basking in the afterglow of last night's IGM.  Even in a huge day of fatigue, I had the privilege of teaching once again Why God Thinks He Can Use YouThis is one of my seminal teachings that I do annually and one day want to put in a book. (I do it again in Mobile at IGO on Thursday night.)

The premise basically is that God redemptively invests Himself in us by calling us, gifting us, anointing us and sending us into the world in a grand partnership with Him.  We are called and sent to be God's people for the good of the world.

Yesterday, my friend Bill Kinnon, that great and opinionated Canadian video wizard, posted a link to an animated classic The Man Who Planted Trees after first mentioning it in his blogSo, being the guy I am - replaying last nights teaching in my head and heart and thinking about being on mission with God - I took a cup of coffee and watched it.

Truly as I watched, it was one of those great missional moments as I experienced anew a vision of grace.  Grace, grace, grace as in simple unabashed trust, the living awesome God invests in us and asks us to redeem His world. 

It is a missional partnership between a trusting, loving, sacrificing God and us.  And we're supposed to be like Him - giving ourselves for the world.  We're not here for ourselves, but for others.

(I know I'm using the word "missional" way too much.  Especially since it's the catch word of the day!  But It seems to be the word of my heart best describing what I'm sensing and appreciating.)

So, take a few minutes (it's about half an hour long) and watch The Man Who Planted Trees.  And let it impact you.

12 January 2009

Even JACK BAUER gets it and gets involved in Missions

My friend Doug Lucas writes:

EVEN JACK BAUER GETS INVOLVED -- Did you catch the premier of "24" last night? ...Anyway, even Jack is getting involved in mission work! The two-hour "teaser" movie in November placed him in an imaginary land called "Sangala." I figure they grabbed the ending sound of "Kampala," used the
opened "s" sound to remind us of Sudan, and then incorporated themes from all 3 nations -- Rwanda, Uganda, and Sudan. See the "24" wiki at


But no matter where "Sangala" is, the point is -- Jack was there, doing, of all things, mission work. Last night's kick-off of 24's *7th* season even featured tangible ways that viewers could get involved... including


If you're a fan, be sure to catch Kiefer in the feature video at


It seems to me that... celebrities do some pretty crazy things these days (can anybody say "Britney Spears?"). Kiefer Sutherland himself (the guy who plays Jack Bauer in "24") was arrested in September, 2007, for Driving Under the Influence (of alcohol). Fans were floored when he pleaded no contest, then insisted that he serve his entire 48 days of jail time in a "normal" jail cell. I'm not suggesting that "Jack Bauer
got religion." What I *am* saying is that it's good to see a superstar use his celebrity influence for a cause that addresses a true global concern -- instead of publicly flaunting his riches publicly for something ridiculous.

"24" continues its global theme in this new season by examining how involved the USA will become in a genocide in Africa, even though it's on the other side of the world (not unlike what's been happening in Sudan). Events are occurring in real time.

11 January 2009

Yesterday I kinda stepped in it...

I used the word "linear" in a bad way yesterday...  I used it to describe my shorthand:


And somehow in my sentence structure,  it sounds like I'm saying Ed Stetzer is linear in his thinking.  Sorry.  It was my lame attempt to put complicated concepts in a shorthand form.

Len has a new post here regarding linear thinking.  And I want to assure Len that I'm doing my best to work out of the whole linear way of thinking as he is.

But my real concern is not whether it's C>>M>>Ch or C>>Ch>>M  (and I'm not sure it can be dissected so cleanly, which is Dr. Ed's concern) because in a non-linear world - such as ours - things happen from all sides at different times.  And we can't always see cause and effect so clearly.

So I'm apologizing.

Last year, in another place, I wrote about my real concerns...

...For the last century, we’ve mostly done it this way: ESCHATOLOGY >> MISSIOLOGY >> ECCLESIOLOGY. By that I mean our end-time theology (Jesus is coming soon!) and all the fear and frenzy that it evokes, produced an evangelistic fury in missions that was weak on disciple-making and consequently in church development. Our eschatology drove our missiology – our participation in mission – and left it shallow, heaven-centered and escapist rather than centering on building communities of Christ-followers.

It should have been (if I read the Bible correctly) this way: CHRISTOLOGY >> MISSIOLOGY >> ECCLESIOLOGY. The fact that Jesus is Lord of the universe; the fact that Jesus is the redeemer-king should impel us to the far corners of the earth with the good news of the Kingdom. And groups of reproducing Jesus followers should result in reproducing missional churches.

The ESCHATOLOGY >> MISSIOLOGY >> ECCLESIOLOGY kinda missions and church has resulted in spectator, consumer-driven groups who are waiting for the next revelation and the trumpet-signal for outta-here.

So, going in Jesus’ name is a result of knowing who He is, and knowing what He desires to accomplish… which I understand is gatherings of disciples (aka church) who worship, experience Jesus' empowering presence daily and love a broken and fallen world.

So there you go...  For me, it's not which comes first.  It's not about the chicken or the egg.  It's about being on the mission and whether or not the revelation of Jesus drives us - motivates us - moves us out of the comfort zone into the world for the fruit of the Kingdom, for the love of the Savior, for the sake of the world.

It just seems to me that the SENDING of God - and He sends us all - and our actual GOING - movement into the neighborhood, the city the world - in the MISSION of living His Life is the big issue.

Sorry if I misrepresented anybody.

10 January 2009

Mission as organizing principle: forward and outward

There is a wee on-going debate between missiologists, What shapes and drives what.

In a linear sort of way, Ed Stetzer puts it this way (you can hear Ed talk about this with David Fitch here):


Alan Hirsch puts it this way:


What I think Alan is saying (and hey! they're both way smarter than me, and get paid way more for saying it!) is this: how we see Jesus - who He is, His mission, His work, His life, death, burial, resurrection - shapes and drives how we see and do missions, and how we see and do missions shapes and drives how we see and do church.

And we have to be very accurate when we even use the word "missions," because for most of us, "missions" is about a Sunday we take a special offering or about a special part of our church budget (usually very small in proportion to other expenses) or about some strange people who come every few years to preach and show slides and trinkets.

But Missions is the sending of God. The Father sent the Son, the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit sends the Church into the world for the sake of the world! Missions drives the church! Or at least should!

Ministry is something other than missions. Mission drives the church to do ministry. The mission is to take the Gospel to all the world. Ministry is what we do in the mission.

Recently Alan posted the following on his blog and says it so good:

In a remark ascribed to Gordon Cosby, the pioneering leader of that remarkable community, Church of the Savior in Washington. DC, he noted that in over 60 years of significant ministry, he had observed that no groups that came together around a non-missional purpose (i.e. prayer, worship, study, etc.) ever ended up becoming missional. That it was only those groups that set out to be missional in the first place (while embracing prayer, worship, study, etc. in the process) that actually got to doing it. This observation fits with all the research done by Carl George and others that indicate that the vast majority of church activities and groups, even in a healthy church, are aimed at the insiders and fail to address the missional issues facing the church in any situation.

If evangelizing and discipling the nations lie at the heart of the church’s purpose in the world, then it is mission, and not ministry, that is the true organizing principle of the church. Mission here, is being used in a narrow sense here to suggest the church’s orientation to the ‘outsiders’ and ministry as the orientation to the ‘insiders.’ Experience as tells us that a church that aims at ministry seldom gets to mission even if it sincerely intends to do so. But the church that aims at mission will have to do ministry, because ministry is the means to do mission. Our services, our ministry, need a greater cause to keep it alive and give it is broader meaning. By planting the flag outside the walls and boundaries of the church so to speak, the church discovers itself by rallying to it—this is mission. And in pursuing it we discover ourselves, and God, in a new way, and the nations both ‘see’ and hear the gospel and are saved.

An organizing principle is that which an organization structures its life and activities around. It’s hard to imagine a sports team surviving long if it forgets its primary mission to compete and win each game and eventually to win the grand final context in its league. Winning the prized cup, medal, or award, keeps the team focused and integrated. It’s mission is its organizing principle, comradeship takes place along the way. The team experiences communitas as it engages in its core task—when it faces physical challenge and risks failure in order to succeed.

Another example of organizing principles: A country’s constitution is basically the organizing principle of the state and its associated public and political life. For instance, the constitution of the USA preserves the basic freedoms and democracy that have marked this nation as unique. Similarly, mission is our constitution, or at least a central part of it. To preserve the movement ethos of God’s people it is fundamental that the Church keeps mission at the centre of its self-understanding. Without mission there is no movement and the community dies a death of the spirit long before it dies a physical death of the body. To forget mission is to forget ourselves, to forget mission is to lose our raison d’ etre, and leads to our eventual demise. Our sense of mission not only flows from an understanding of the Mission of God and missional church, but it forms the orienting inspiration of the church of Jesus Christ and keeps it constantly moving forward and outward

08 January 2009

Shall we implement his work today?

"... all that we are and do as Christians is based upon the one-off unique achievement of Jesus.  It is because he inaugurated the kingdom that we can live in the kingdom.  It is because he brought the story of God and Israel, and hence of God and the cosmos, to its designed climax that we can now implement that work today..."

                                 -- Tom Wright (The Challenge of Jesus)

06 January 2009

Epiphany... Wise men still seek Him

Well today is Epiphany!

Epiphany is that day that the Church has historically celebrated the visit of the Magi or Wise Men to the infant Jesus.  (At least the Western Church -- and I don't mean "Cowboy Church" or anything that has to do with John Wayne or cowboy goodness or frontier ethics -- but the European/Catholic Church as opposed to the Eastern/Orthodox Church... [they're celebrating Christmas tomorrow, for heaven's sake!] One day we should talk about this...)

Epiphany is the climax of the Advent/Christmas Season and the Twelve Days of Christmas, which are usually counted from the evening of December 25th until the morning of January 6th, which is the Twelfth Day.

(Somehow the partridge-in-a-pear-tree thing got us celebrating the Twelve Days before Christmas!  When we should have been celebrating Advent - in anticipation of the birth of the Messiah.  But  then our hustle-bustle get-a-gift-give-a-gift mania mamagi_tissotke many of us say TGIO - Thank God It's Over and are not interested in continuing anything frenetic  - or even worshipful - after New Year's Day!  At least we might think it... maybe not saying it out loud!)

In doing some Protestant-boy research, here are some things I've found, and could actually be true - even though it's not all in the Bible:

  • Really most of what we associate with the "Magi" is from early church traditions and what we sing at Christmas. Which at best is scanty. 
    • Somehow we've assumed there were three of them, since they brought three specific gifts, but the Biblical text doesn't number them (but alas, the Christmas carols do...)
  • They are called "Magi" from the Latinized form of the Greek word magoi, transliterated from the Persian, for a select sect of priests. (Our word "magic" comes from the same root which somehow unjustly taints these guys from the outset.)
  • Probably the ancient Magi were a hereditary priesthood of the Medes (known today as the Kurds - you hear about them in the news occasionally in Iraq and Turkey) credited with extraordinary religious knowledge.  When some Magi proved to be pretty good in the interpretation of dreams - a big deal in the ancient world - Darius the Great established them as head of the state religion of Persia. (Contrary to popular belief, the Magi were not originally followers of Zoroaster.  That all comes later.)
  • The Magi became the supreme priestly caste of the Persian empire and continued to be prominent during the subsequent ruling empires.

Now here's where it gets interesting...

  • The Babylonian captivity took devout, God-fearing, prophetic guys like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and transported them - along with their understanding of God, the Abrahamic Covenant and His plan for the nations/ethnos - to places of influence.
  • One of the titles given to Daniel was Rab-mag, the Chief of the Magi (unfortunately translated "magicians" in most translations.) (DAN 4:9; 5:11)
  • Daniel's unusual career included being a principal administrator in two world empires -- the Babylonian and the subsequent Persian Empire.  When Darius appointed him, a Jew, over the previously hereditary Median priesthood, the resulting repercussions led to trouble involving things like the lion's den. (DAN 6)

And here, the Magi plot thickens...

  • Daniel apparently entrusted a Messianic vision (maybe to be announced in due time by a "star") to a sect of the Magi for its eventual fulfillment.   They like the Jews, were looking for the prophesied Messiah...
  • Since the days of Daniel, the fortunes and futures of the Persian and the Jewish nations had been closely intertwined.  The Persian/Parthian empire (roughly where Iran is today) was outside Roman domination and were the "enemies to the East."  Palestine, under Roman domination at the time of Jesus' birth, was a buffer zone against the Parthians for the Romans. 
  • The Magi - rather than actually being three kings of Orient Are - were actually "king-makers!"  The Magi functioning as both priests and "legislators", composed the upper house of the Council of the Megistanes (from which we get the term "magistrates"), whose duties included the absolute choice and election of the king.

Fast forward to the birth of Jesus...

  • The appearance of the Magi, a group of Persian/Parthian (Iranian) "king makers" probably traveling with a large entourage with all imaginable oriental pomp, accompanied by an adequate cavalry escort to insure their safe penetration of Roman territory, alarmed Herod and the populace of Jerusalem.  Yikes!  Not only were they there to find his replacement (in his thinking) but they were attempting to perpetrate a border incident which could bring swift reprisal from Rome and/or Parthian armies. Their request of Herod regarding the one who "has been born King of the Jews" was a calculated insult to him, a non-Jew who had contrived and bribed his way into that office.
  • Consulting his "people," Herod discovered from the prophecies that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Hiding his concern and expressing sincere interest, Herod requested them to keep him informed. (You know the story - MAT 2)
  • After finding the babe and presenting their gifts, the Magi "being warned in a dream" (a form of communication with which they were familiar) departed to their own country, ignoring Herod.

The visit of the Wise Men - Epiphany - is significant in many ways...

  • The Wise Men's visit opens up the universal consequences of the coming of the Messiah, Jesus... 
    • In Genesis 12, Abraham is called out and sent by God to places unknown, and he is promised, "...and all peoples/families/ethnic groups/people groups on the earth will be blessed through you."  The Apostle Paul writes to the Galatian believers that this constitutes the Gospel as give to Abraham.  The Gospel!  He goes on to write, "He (God) redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles (ethnos/people groups) through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit." (GAL 3:14)
  • The Magi adored (prosekynesan) the Child as God, and offered Him gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The giving of gifts was in keeping with Middle Eastern custom.
  • The Wise Men come in worship of a Messiah who would open up the great blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant to all would believe!
  • The Wise Men were probably part of the legacy of God's work through Daniel in the midst of captivity and pain...
    • Devout, God-fearing, prophetic guys like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego  lived out their destiny ("a non-transferable assignment from God") in such a way that it there were ramifications centuries later...
  • The Magi's visit, Daniel's captivity and rise to prominence aren't just kiddie stories for Sunday School and bedtime (although it's great to use them there!) but they are about the Sovereign God of the universe using "out of the box" situations to fulfil God's plan for the nations/ethnos of the earth...

So today, let's celebrate what God has done -- what God will do in the future -- but also (and maybe most important) what He is doing right now in our lives, through us, by His grace and willful intent to fulfil His purpose!

Come on let's hear it for the Magi!  After all it's Epiphany!  (Should we break out turkey and all the fixin's again?)

05 January 2009

Missional Tribe is sent on the mission...

Some of my buddies (and buddettes) from 2007's Seabeck missional tribeMissional Order gathering have launched a new website/community over at missionaltribe.org .  Knowing these folks as I do, it will be a thought-provoking and fun place.  And it launches tomorrow but today you can get a 7 second tease, so drop by and give a look!

I know this is birthed out of a sense and desire for community and mission!  Let's see where this will go! 

I'm reminded of several years ago being in a meeting where Bill Taylor, then Executive Director of the WEF Missions Commission, was speaking.  To a group of missionaries working in hard, creative-access areas, he pled for us to be a generation of "contemplative practitioners."  This phrase has stayed in my mind and in my heart: "contemplative practitioners."  We have a a lot of voices in the missional conversation, but I'm pretty sure over at missionaltribe.org there will be both light as well as heat!  I love these guys/gals and appreciate their vision, candor and wisdom!  They are both "contemplative" and "practitioners" of being sent and sending...


Ed Stetzer - the Baptist guy you see everywhere - who's  losrejesus-covering weight, exercising, probably getting his hair permed in order to be more attractional while being missional, has an interview with Alan Hirsch about his new book ReJesus here.

I like what Alan says, but I also like the way Ed asks questions.  Read the interview and tell me which of Ed's questions do you like best.  Which one did I like best?

(No this is not Jeopardy!)

The Challenge of Jesus, the challenge of the Kingdom...

In re-reading Tom Wright's The Challenge of Jesus, I am re-challenged to think differently about Jesus, the Kingdom and what it's all about.

For my lifetime I've attempted to think about the Kingdom as God's movement in the earth. When I first read E. Stanley Jones' The Unshakable Kingdom and the Unchanging Person back in the '70's, I began using the Kingdom of God as my grid to interpret Scripture, live my life and experience my ministry. But re-reading Wright causes me to see how easily - especially being back here in the USA Church World - wrong thinking creeps in. It's so easy to float back into the spectator world, where some are experts in white shirts and most are just spectators waiting for the bus...

Tom says:

"When Jesus announced the kingdom, the stories functioned like dramatic plays in search of actors. The hearers were invited to audition for parts in the kingdom. They had been eager for God's drama to be staged and were waiting to find out what they would have to do when he did so. Now they were to discover. They were to become kingdom-people themselves. Jesus, following John the Baptist, was calling into being what he believed would be the true, renewed people of God..."

We are the renewed people of God. Like it or not and we're looking for our 12_apostlesplace in the Kingdom.

Tomorrow night we begin the Globe Institute for Global Ministry (IGM). This is the third year. And it will be filled with folks looking for their roles in the Kingdom-drama; looking for their next step in knowing, loving and serving Jesus! And my role is to announce the Kingdom and God's mission in the earth!

Pray for me!

04 January 2009

03 January 2009

Uncle Jay explains the news of 2008

My mama said, "Read your Bible!"

banner1 Here's an online way to read the Bible all the way through in one year... Try it you might like it...  You can read it in any version; even the esteemed ESV!

Hey!  Maybe you and your tribe could do the reading together and post stuff at the YouVersion website and talk among yourselves... Has that ever been done before?  I mean the talking among yourselves part...

If you wanna change...

i-want-change “We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers…you can blame anyone, but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change, you’re the one who has got to change. It’s as simple as that, isn’t it?”        — Katharine Hepburn

02 January 2009

The Next BIG Things - 5 Predictions for 2009

Url Scaramanga's - the guy from Out of Ur (Christianity Today's blog) - five predictions for 2009... And he may be right; you know how we are...

I've been giving a lot of thought to the state of the church as we enter a new year. In these uncertain, times we naturally look to reliable and wise voices to guide us through the fog. And who is more reliable and wise than yours truly? To help you plan ahead, I've compiled my list of the top five predictions to watch for in 2009.

The next BIG word: Post-Missional
There was a time when everything was "postmodern." Then we all "emerged." Now it's nearly impossible to find a ministry that isn't passionately "missional." But in 2009, I predict tnewyearshe truly innovative ministries will be "post-missional." No one will actually know what post-missional means, but the word will become ubiquitous, finding its way into the subtitles of at least 34 percent of all ministry books published in 2009.

The next BIG outreach trend: The 30-Day Alcohol Challenge
A number of churches have gotten enormous attention for variations of the 30-Day Sex Challenge. These ministries have tried to attract the sexually-charged unchurched by proclaiming that Christians have better sex and more of it. In this "more is more" philosophy of Christian liberty, I predict the next hot outreach trend will focus on alcohol as a way of deconstructing the church's tee-totaling reputation. Pastors will challenge church members over 21 to drink every day for a month—an expensive proposition for Lutherans who only drink imports.

The next BIG book: REVEAL 3: You Go, I'm Staying Right Here.
The Willow Creek Association published REVEAL: Where Are You? in 2007. Last year brought REVEAL 2: Follow Me. In 2009 I predict we'll see the publication of a third book in the series, REVEAL 3: You Go, I'm Staying Right Here. The new book will outline why changes to Willow's ministry strategy really aren't, and how it's more seeker-sensitive than ever.

The next BIG celebrity pastor: Rod Blagojevich
I predict that after the embattled, corrupt governor of Illinois is forcibly removed from office, he will have a "come to Jesus" moment at the federal penitentiary. He will emerge with a new mission and one of the most marketable conversion stories since Stephen Baldwin's. Because of his bountiful mane, Brother Blago (as he'll be known) will likely end up a televangelist.

The next BIG catch phrase: "Jesus is my bailout plan"
With the government issuing bailouts to banks, mortgage brokers, and the Big 3, I predict that the "bailout" language will quickly be adapted to Christian T-shirts and bumper stickers. Other possible phrases to be seen in '09: "My 401k is in Heaven," "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: These Big 3 Don't Need a Bailout," and "SEC: Secured Eternally in Christ."

Url Scaramanga is the moderator of Out of Ur.